Friday, September 30, 2011

Huberdeau Scores In Pre-Season Finale

Jonathan Huberdeau wrapped up an impressive pre-season on Thursday night in Dallas.

The Florida Panthers top draft choice in June’s draft netted a power play marker in the second period. The goal would be the only one the Panthers would get as the Dallas Stars dropped them 7-1 at American Airlines Center.

Along with scoring his third of the pre-season, the Saint John Sea Dogs forward was a -1, had one shot and was on the ice for a total of 15 minutes and 20 seconds.

Along with three pre-season goals, Huberdeau also had an assist.

Florida finished exhibition play with a record of 1-4-1. Now the waiting begins.

TSN’s Bob McKenzie tweeted the other day that the deadline to sign first, second, and third round picks is this Tuesday at 6pm AST (Edit: most of the newspapers are saying he has to be signed by Monday). If they are not signed by that deadline, they are unable to play in the National Hockey League this season.

“We spoke [with agent] briefly on Monday,” said Panthers general manager Dale Tallon to George Richards of the Miami Herald about Huberdeau’s contract situation. “We're really going to wait until Friday. If he makes our team, we're going to try and get something done.''

Panthers centre Mike Santorelli injured his shoulder this past week and could miss most of October which would open up space for Huberdeau to start the year with the club. The Memorial Cup’s Most Valuable Player can play a maximum of nine games in the NHL without his contract kicking in.

"A nine-game audition while Santorelli recovers would be the perfect opportunity for Huberdeau to get a taste of the size and speed of NHL players, as well as getting a taste of the expectations of being a professional athlete," writes Matt Reitz of NBC Sports' hockey blog. "There’s no substitute for a young player to see what professionals go through on a daily basis—from eating and health habits to on-ice preparation."

“He has done a very good job of showing everything he can at camp to make a statement for his case,'' Panthers coach Kevin Dineen said to the Miami Herald. “He's showing his skill set, his work ethic. He's very respectful of the veterans. He has a real quiet confidence and we think the world of him as a player and a person. The business will take care of itself. He's doing his part. He's a skilled player. You always get excited about a skilled player in your lineup.''

Florida’s season opener is on October 8 in Long Island.

Photo Credit: AP

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